Publican is shot by barred customer

The Brewery Inn
The Brewery Inn

A customer barred from his local pub returned minutes later and shot the landlord at point-blank range with an air pistol, a court heard.

Stuart Alexander also fired at least three times at customer Neil Lloyd Roberts before walking out of the Brewery Inn at Leigh, Bolton Crown Court was told.

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A judge has now given Alexander, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, an indefinite hospital order for the public’s protection.

Prosecutor Alison Heyworth said the 58-year-old walked into the Brewery Inn on April 21 last year, even though he had been barred previously.

She added: “The defendant shouted abuse, a few times, before leaving the premises.

“But 10 minutes later he came back and Mr Lloyd Roberts saw what he thought to be, in his possession, a handgun.”

Alexander walked to within nine or 10 inches of Mr Rainsford, at the bar, and pointed the gun straight at him, the court heard.

Ms Heyworth said: “Mr Rainsford felt a sharp pain just beneath his collarbone. The defendant turned and walked towards where Mr Lloyd Roberts was sitting.”

The court heard that Mr Lloyd Roberts told Alexander he was an “idiot”, and the defendant then shot him three times in the head.

Alexander then left the pub and walked to his home nearby. Eyewitnesses recall him pointing the gun at others as he left.

Later the two men told police that while they were not seriously concerned at the time, they were each aware of the consequences if the weapon had turned out to be a genuine firearm, the court heard.

Ms Heyworth said that the air pistol was examined by a ballistics expert, after it was recovered by police from Alexander’s home, and it was found that the weapon, as well as closely resembling a revolver, was capable of firing ball bearings at 455 feet per second.

Interviewed by police, Alexander said that he had obtained the air pistol because he believed his life was in

danger.

Michelle Brown, defending, said her client had expressed remorse for what he had done, both to police and when interviewed by psychiatrists.

She told the court that Alexander, who had a history of failing to take medication required for his condition, had little recollection of the events themselves but accepted his guilt for what had occurred.

Passing sentence, Judge Graeme Smith said it was a “difficult and sad case”, due to the defendant’s mental health difficulties.

But he told the court he was satisfied, after reading reports by two consultant psychiatrists, that Alexander should be made subject to a hospital order, where his liberty will be restricted

indefinitely.

Assessing the evidence in the case, Judge Smith said there was as potential risk to the public, from the commission of further offences, if Alexander was not detained.

The court heard that Alexander, who had already been undergoing treatment and was accompanied to court by mental health workers, would be treated at the Marlowe Unit, a low-secure ward at Hollins Park Hospital in Winwick.